Hey, it's Sam Oh and in this lesson, I'm going
to share about the pros and cons of some of the most popular affiliate marketing
programs and networks. Plus, I'm going to show you how to find the best
affiliate marketing programs for any niche. So let's kick things off with possibly
the most popular affiliate program, and that's Amazon Associates. This is Amazon's affiliate program. They have millions of products you can
promote and it's probably the most trusted ecommerce brand in the world. So in my opinion, Amazon Associates is
the best catchall affiliate program in the world. Now, their payouts differ based
on the category of the product. And commissions can range from
1 to 20% of the sale price.
Now, let's look through the pros and cons
of this program, starting with the pros. We already touched on one and that's
the fact that you have a huge inventory of products to choose from. Another pro is that you can monetize
international traffic using their OneLink feature. Basically, you create a single affiliate link for
a product and depending on the location of that visitor, they'll be sent
to their local Amazon site. For example, let's say a person from
the US clicks your affiliate link.
They'll be directed to the Amazon.com product page. But if someone from Canada or the UK
clicks that same link, they'll be redirected to the amazon.ca or amazon.co.uk
product pages, assuming they exist. And the final pro is that Amazon's
conversion rate is extremely high. Because it's Amazon and most people, at
least in the US, have an Amazon account, there's very little friction from
product page to checkout. And remember, as an affiliate,
you don't get paid for clicks. You only get paid when the merchant gets paid. Now, the main con with Amazon's affiliate program
is that the commissions are generally pretty low. And for many niches, there are other
programs that offer better payouts.
We'll get into finding these
affiliate programs in a bit. The next affiliate program is Target. Target is a big box store in the United States
and has a huge inventory of products – much like Amazon. Now, their payout is pretty low at "up to 8%." But one differentiator from Amazon is
that Target offers a 7-day cookie life, while Amazon only has a 24-hour cookie. This means that if someone clicks your Target
affiliate link and makes any purchase within 7-days, you'll be paid a commission. Whereas with Amazon, the person who clicks the
link needs to make a purchase within 24 hours. The next affiliate program is Commission Junction. Actually, CJ is an affiliate network.
Basically, companies who want to start
an affiliate program will sign up with Commission Junction and they'll handle
all the tracking and software related things. Now, the pros of CJ is that you get access to
a directory of thousands of affiliate programs. They also share stats like the average
earnings per click over 7 and 30 day time periods, as well as the commission rates. Another pro is that unlike Amazon, you're
not limited to physical products or Amazon subscriptions. There are companies that offer
intangible products like Booking.com, which handles travel bookings and
software companies like GetResponse which offers email marketing services. Now, a downside to CJ is that you have
to actually apply for each program and get accepted. Most of these affiliate merchants from
my experience are much pickier in who they allow to become an affiliate
compared to Amazon.
So while it doesn't hurt to create a CJ
account and apply for these programs, you may initially get rejected until you reach
a certain amount of consistent traffic. But there shouldn't be anything to worry
about because if you follow the steps in this course, you should be able to do that
with SEO, which we'll get in another module. Alright, the next affiliate program is ShareASale. And actually, this is also an affiliate network. Now, I won't bother talking much about
ShareASale because it's pretty much the exact same as Commission Junction,
but there are different merchants that use it.
For example, Etsy and Weebly both use
ShareaSale to run their affiliate programs. Alright, so now that we've covered some of the
more general affiliate programs and networks, let's talk about how you can find
niche affiliate programs that are likely high-performers in your niche. And it's quite simple. You just need to look at which affiliate
programs your competitors frequently link to. After all, if a lot of your competitors
are using a specific affiliate program, then chances are, it converts
and/or pays out well. And there are two ways to do this: The first is to go to Google and search
for something like "best [product name]." For example, in the previous lesson,
we found an affiliate site about knives.
So I might search for "best knives for camping." Then you can click on a few of the
articles to open them in new tabs. And all you have to do now is hover over
their affiliate links to see who they link to. Now, this is functional, but
it's not exactly efficient. A better way is to use a free
feature in Ahrefs' SEO toolbar. Just click on the icon, choose the Links tab,
and select "External" from the dropdown to see all external links on that page. And as you can see, this page only seems
to link to Amazon's affiliate program.
Now, if we look at the next ranking page, you'll
see that they link to Amazon and another one called "Avantlink" which is an affiliate network
that companies like REI and Campsaver use. So to research the programs further, you'd need to
sign up for an account at Avantlink and check out the metrics they provide on these programs. Now, the downside to this method is
that we're looking at just one page. And this page happens to be
about knives for camping. But a site about knives would probably
talk about kitchen knives too. And you don't buy kitchen
knives at a camping store. So a much better way to get a holistic view
of all affiliate programs in a niche is to see who your competitors link to
most across their entire site. For example, in the last lesson on finding
niches, we found this niche site about knives. And according to Ahrefs' Site Explorer, it
gets a ton of search traffic which is quite valuable as you can see from
their monthly traffic value. Now, to find the affiliate merchants that
this knife site links to, you just have to go to the Linked Domains report in Site
Explorer, which shows you all websites that this site links to.
Just sort the table by the "Links to Target"
column to see who this site links to most. Now, all you have to do is skim the domain
names to see if they look like it would lead to an affiliate program or network. We already know that all of the Amazon
links will be affiliate links. Then you'll see this shortened URL
shrsl.com which this site links to hundreds of times. This is Shareasale's shortened
URL for affiliate links.
Now, if we click on the number for this row,
and click one of the affiliate links, you'll see it leads to a knife company called BladeHQ. And if we look up that site in ShareaSale,
you can see the commission amount and earnings per click metric. Scrolling further through the list,
you'll see that this affiliate site also links to avantlink.com. And if we expand these links in Ahrefs,
and click one of those affiliate links, you'll see it sends us to another
site called Buck Knives. Then it's just a matter of researching
the details on their affiliate program. Now, if you rinse and repeat these steps
for a few popular niche affiliate sites, you should be able to find some common
programs which will be helpful when choosing the best affiliate program for your site.
Your competitors have basically done
the research and testing for you. Now, when you're choosing an affiliate
program, you'll want to consider two additional things. The first is product and brand reputation. Beginners often choose programs
that have the biggest payout. But the reason why a lot of affiliate programs
offer huge payouts is because their product is inferior to many of their competitors' products. Remember, after someone clicks your affiliate
link, they have to make a purchase in order for you to get compensated. Also, people who purchase poorer quality
products are more likely to return them. And when refunds from your referred sales
happen, you lose your commission too. By recommending good quality products
from solid and well-known brands, you'll help your visitors and your bank account. Quick sidenote: this is actually why I don't
recommend using Clickbank as an affiliate program as I've never once seen a quality product
or brand run their affiliate program there. Alright, the second thing to
consider is conversion rate. Now, most affiliate programs won't list
conversion rates for their product and landing pages. But if you happen to be working with an
affiliate manager in one of your programs, it doesn't hurt to ask.
To illustrate the importance of conversion rate,
let's run through an example for the knives niche. So according to Amazon's commission table,
sports and outdoor goods pay out 3% of the sale. And most camping knives
will fall into this category. But that other affiliate program we found
on Shareasale, BladeHQ, pays out 5%. Well, let's say you get 100 clicks to
your affiliate links and the average order value is $100. If 7% of those clicks convert on Amazon
and only 3% of clicks convert on BladeHQ, then that means your commissions
from Amazon would be $21, while your commissions from BladeHQ would be $15. So despite the fact that BladeHQ has a bigger
payout, Amazon would be the affiliate program to go with in this scenario.
Now, this example is a bit oversimplified
because you need to consider things like traffic source, your content,
and the intent of the visitors. These are all things we're going
to cover over the next 3 modules. In fact, the next module is all about
planning your affiliate site's strategy which is going to give you a blueprint
to follow for the rest of this course.
I'll see you there..